Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Good report card from ANAO for Child Support Agency

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report tabled in Parliament today acknowledges efforts by the Child Support Agency to improve business operations and client service Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, said today.

“The ANAO’s whole of business general performance audit report found that as at 30 June 2001 the agency administered some 580,000 child support cases. Of those, the Child Support Agency acted as the collection agency for around 300,000 cases.

“As each case has two clients, the Agency had around 1.2 million clients responsible for more than 940,000 children.

“The ANAO Report recognises that the Child Support Agency operates in a complex and sensitive environment and the strong emotions often felt by separated parents and the separation process can affect their relationship with the Child Support Agency.

“The ANAO set out to report on improvements since the last Audit Report in 1997-98 and establish whether the Child Support Agency had improved the management and delivery of its service.

“I am pleased that the report found previous recommendations have been either fully or substantially implemented and that there have been significant improvements to the way the Agency manages its business.”

Improvements include:

  • faster telephone responsiveness and simplified letters;
  • comprehensive staff training and coaching;
  • better complaints handling;
  • expanded rural and remote services; and,
  • an improved introduction package for new clients.

“The report identifies some areas for improvement such as approaches to debt collection and improving the consistency of advice to clients. I take the findings of the ANAO seriously and have asked the Child Support Agency to report to me on how they will improve in these areas.

“I congratulate all staff of the Child Support Agency for their hard work providing services to separated parents.

“Despite the lack of support from the ALP in the past to improve the scheme through legislative change, the Coalition Government will continue to seek to better assist the children of separated parents,” Mr Anthony said.